Saronic Gulf Islands

The Saronic Gulf Islands of Hydra, Poros, Spetses and Aegina are easy day trips from Athens but are worth a longer vacation.

Aegina TownAegina Town in the Saronic Gulf Islands

The Saronic Gulf Islands, also called the Argo-Saronic Islands, are an easy day trip from Athens, although any one of them would be worth a longer vacation too. There are four main islands, plus Salamina, the island closest to Athens and almost a suburb. It's not one that many visitors choose to visit for a holiday.

The four main islands, starting closest to Athens, are Aegina (or Egina), Poros, Hydra (or Idra or Ydhra) and finally Spetses, sometimes also called Spetsai. They're all rather different in style, with Aegina having the spectacular Temple of Aphaea, Hydra being tiny and traffic-free, Poros green and very close to the Peloponnese mainland, and Spetses being rather stylish and with Spetses Town being the biggest town in this Saronic group.

Man Selling Octopus on PorosSelling Octopus on Poros

Aegina is very popular with Athenians wanting to get away for the weekend, so if you can avoid the weekend there are usually plenty of hotels to choose from, and some good restaurants to dine at.

Poros attracts European holidaymakers as well as Athenian day-trippers, while Hydra has always had more of a Bohemian feel and attracted musicians and artists like Leonard Cohen, various Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd. It's still a laid-back place with some stylish hotels and fine dining restaurants.

Spetses has a few good beaches but they're harder to get to and so it has never really developed as a big holiday hotspot: a good choice, then, if you don't like holiday hotspots!

Any of the islands is a good choice, though, and if you are planning to visit on a day-trip from Athens, there are fast ferries from Piraeus. The furthest island, Spetses, takes about 2 hrs 30 mins on a hydrofoil, while Aegina is less than an hour away.

Click on the photos or names below to take you straight to the relevant page for each of the Saronic Gulf Islands.

Salamina
Salamina is just a few minutes by ferry from Piraeus, but few overseas visitors bother to go there. It is a popular commuting island for working Athenians, with Salamina Town almost being an island suburb of Athens. It is not the prettiest of islands, but the fact that it is almost completely bypassed by visitors makes it worth seeing. There are a few small villages dotted around the coast, with the main resort being Selinia. 

Our Pick of Greek Islands Guides

Rough-Guide-Greek-Islands-2022.png

Our Saronic Gulf Islands Pages

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Latest Posts

  1. The Parthenon of the Peloponnese: The Temple of Apollo at Bassae

    One of the best-preserved monuments from Classical antiquity, the Temple of Apollo at Bassae is a hidden gem in the mountains of Arcadia.

    Read More

  2. This Greek Island is Europe’s Sunniest Place in May

    Britain’s Express newspaper encourages its readers to experience the beauty and warmth of the Greek island of Kos, the sunniest place in Europe in May.

    Read More

  3. 5+1 Reasons for a Spring Day Trip to Aegina

    Wildflowers, ancient olive trees, nature, and delicious pistachio treats. In the spring, Aegina provides everything you need for the perfect day trip.

    Read More

  4. Santorini Voted Best Island in Europe at US Awards

    Greece wins top honors at this year's American Leisure Lifestyle Awards, with Santorini ranked the "Best Island in Europe" for the 11th consecutive year.

    Read More

  5. Take a drive down California’s Pacific Coast Highway One

    Stretching 656 miles and connecting the coastal redwoods of Northern California to the sandy beaches of Southern California, is SR 1, otherwise known as the California Pacific Coast Highway, the PCH…

    Read More

  6. Highway 1 to Big Sur Has Reopened — What to Know About Visiting from the Bay Area

    If you’ve been eagerly awaiting this Highway 1 reopening and want to plan a long-delayed trip to Big Sur this summer, there are several things that prospective visitors to the region should know. Keep…

    Read More

  7. Matala Beach Festival Revives Hippie Era on Crete

    The international Matala Beach Festival on Crete will transport attendees back to the famous hippie era with live music events, sports, and art activities for children. From July 5 to 7, people of all…

    Read More

  8. Birdwatching on Lesbos

    golden-eagle-pixabay.jpg
    For keen birdwatchers, birdwatching on Lesbos offers a chance to see over 300 species in diverse habitats on a key migratory route between Europe and Africa.

    Read More

  9. Survey: Athens a Bargain Destination for UK Travelers this Year

    British travelers seeking value for money in Europe this year will find it in Athens, according to the annual Post Office Travel Money City Costs Barometer. The Greek capital is once again among the T…

    Read More

  10. Athens City Festival this Week Features Music Events, Treasure Hunts, Museum Visits

    The Greek capital continues to celebrate spring with the 3rd This is Athens – City Festival, presenting a diverse program of events and activities, all with free admission. Throughout the weekend, the…

    Read More